Broward Supervisor of Elections Pete Antonacci attempted to calm concerns of a potential 2020 hack into the county’s election results after he intimated that such an attack would be possible.
Antonacci spoke Tuesday at a Broward legislative delegation meeting in Miramar. Rep. Richard Stark asked Antonacci how the county has prepared for the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
“There’s been a lot of public interest about security,” Antonacci said, adding it’s “an important topic.”
Antonacci added to that public interest when he was quoted by the Sun Sentinel as saying the 2020 election could be hacked by a foreign government.
“If the military organizations of our adversaries around the world decide to do something, technically they have the capability to do it,” Antonacci said in August.
“There are forces bigger than us and people much bigger than us that may wish us wrong. If they have the intent and capacity, bad things can happen,” he said.
But Tuesday, Antonacci said the county’s main concern regarding a potential hack is with the voter information database, not the results of the actual election.
“I think one thing that you should keep in mind when you hear stories about the penetration of data systems that are supported by the Secretary of State and by Supervisors is that there really are two systems,” Antonacci said.
The voter registration system contains a voter’s personal information that’s given to a local Supervisor of Elections office in order to allow that individual to register to vote.
“That system is completely separate and apart from the tabulation system,” Antonacci said.
He said Broward ‘s tabulation system is unconnected to the internet. Antonacci added he is “very confident” those votes will be secure and reported accurately.
But he repeated those concerns regarding a potential hack into the voter registration system.
“There are larger forces in this world than the state of Florida and certainly Broward County,” Antonacci said.
“And those larger forces of the world include people who may be adversaries of the United States. They have cyber systems and militaries that are far beyond my imagination.”
In July, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report that found election systems in four Florida counties were hacked by Russians in 2018. That was part of an effort that allowed them to penetrate election systems in more than 20 states. However, there has not been any evidence released that votes were changed.